“Bonjour, Ganesh!” Has Local Talent (and Policy Wonks)
When Bonjour, Ganesh! takes the stage at the Black Cat on Friday night, there will be three locals performing in the band: Adam Rosenberg, Colin McCormick and Luke Peterson live in Dupont-Logan. Most of the other members close by–Shaw, Mount Pleasant, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and the West End/Foggy Bottom
Funk and Jam Band
The band describes itself as “a nine-piece funk and jam-band… featuring a four-piece horn section and a musical dynamic that keeps fans on their feet dancing the night away.” They produce much of their own material and cite Phish, Medeski, Martin & Wood, The Who, Tower of Power, Aretha Franklin, Talking Heads, Blondie and Pink Floyd as influences.
“It’s the first gig for Boujour, Ganesh! at Black Cat, although the band has played at numerous local venues, according to keyboardist Peterson. “We’ve played pretty much everywhere in DC that regularly has rock bands except Black Cat and 9:30 club… Velvet Lounge, Red and the Black, Rock and Roll Hotel, DC9 and Iota in Virginia,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg is the front man and vocalist/guitarist and is flanked by bassist and vocalist Michael Strauss. Peterson adds keyboards, Matt Ling is on drums and Dan Wagner is the band’s auxiliary percussionist. Bonjour Ganesh includes a four-piece horn section–“The StratPak”–featuring two trombone players (Colin McCormick and Stratton Edwards) who compliment trumpet player Mark Mossey and saxophonist Mike Nilsson. As if that weren’t enough members, Bonjour, Ganesh! will be playing their Black Cat show with a guest guitarist Mike Sager as well.
And the name? Peterson explains that Bonjour, Ganesh! comes from bassist Strauss’ “little black book of band names.” He said, “Mike has a file of band names he keeps from his world travels. I think he came up with this one at an Indian wedding in France. Either way it translates to ‘hello’ to the Hindu god for overcoming obstacles.”
Policy Wonks by Day
Not surprisingly for the neighborhood, the members of Bonjour, Ganesh! have day jobs that are closely tied to government and politics. “We are all adults with serious jobs–this is a creative outlet for the whole group,” Rosenberg explained.
Trombonist (and Dupont-resident) Colin McCormick has a PhD in particle physics and works in energy policy while two other members are lawyers and another is a law student. Peterson said that “seven of the nine band members have an unnaturally high degree of interest and interaction in government policy.”
Two of the band’s members (Wagner and Peterson) were full-time staffers on the Obama campaign from the primary season through to the general election while Sager was a full-time employee of the Democratic National Committee at that time. Two band members worked on the Obama inauguration committee and another was on the transition team. There is a lone Republican in the band, with one member assisting the 2008 McCain campaign.